Fine Artists

Last updated January 01, 2015

Imagine a world without art -- no paintings, no sketches, no statues in the parks. A world without art would be pretty empty, dull, and cold. So even though people may try to tell you otherwise, and even though you probably won’t make your living at it, art does matter.

But even if you do become one of the lucky few who can pay the bills with art, you’ll need to let go of any romantic visions you have of working day and night to create a masterpiece. Trade them for the more realistic picture of a small businessperson balancing creative work with bookkeeping and marketing efforts.

Fine artists create visual art, usually specializing in a specific type, such as painting or sculpture. Their goals may be many: to create something of beauty, to trigger emotion, and to make people think.

“You have to have a thick skin, because rejection is very hard to take. People that have really made it big usually know how to promote themselves.” Rochelle, Painter

Are You Ready To...?

  • Look for inspiration
  • Perfect your skills and learn new ones
  • Work on your own
  • Promote yourself and your work to galleries and others
  • Hang shows
  • Accept criticism of your work graciously
  • Believe in yourself in the face of rejection
  • Apply for grants from government agencies and nonprofit foundations
  • Travel to see art
  • Live on a tight budget
  • Take on another job to bring in a paycheck -- anything from waiting tables to teaching

It Helps To Be...

A creative thinker who likes to express ideas visually. Most artists work on their own, so it’s also important to be disciplined and self-motivated.

Make High School Count

  • Refine your skills in art classes.
  • Sign up for art history. If your school doesn’t offer it, look into classes at the local community college or university.
  • Visit museums and galleries at home and on vacation.
  • Pay attention in English: you’ll use writing skills to craft everything from artist’s statements to grant applications.
  • Take business and accounting courses to build skills you’ll use in managing your career.
  • Join the stage crew to get experience building and painting on a large scale.
  • Work on the yearbook and newspaper staff to learn about the role of art in publishing.
  • If your state has a Governor’s School for the arts, compete for a place in it.

Did You Know?

Fine art takes many, many forms. Andy Warhol’s installation Silver Clouds is a room full of floating metallic balloons.